The World in Which We Occur: Water Politics
Part of TWWWO Voice Archive
Recorded on Saturday, June 18, 5:30 PM Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon
SPEAKERS: Ravi Agarwal, João Camargo, Joyeeta Gupta
At a time when we need to rethink the distribution of resources beyond the perimeter of the nation-state, the sole notion of property needs to be reconsidered. At this very moment, multinational corporations invade the lawless breaches of international waters, colonizing nature, and developing matrixes of energetic resource exploitation that neglect the balance of the biosphere. In the meantime, toxicity levels have risen to unparalleled degrees across lands, just as access to clean water in the Global South is strongly regulated by the trade relations of the Global North. How can we comprehend the fluidity of ecosystemic relations and the need for new models of political resilience?
The World in Which We Occur is an event series co-led by Margarida Mendes and Jennifer Teets, taking place live over the telephone, and formulated around questions addressed by speakers across the world. Embarking on modern day issues rooted in the history of materiality and flux as well as pertinent politically enmeshed scientific affairs shaping our world today, the series’ premise is one of interrogation and epistemic search. To date, The World in Which We Occur has hosted sessions on the core debates of the Anthropocene, pharmakons (the body and the earth as a remedy and a poison), molecular colonialism in the reign of microorganisms, grief and climate change, and states of reserve and the legality of invisible regimes. It is currently exploring resource fetishism as its primary axis for the Lisbon presentation where it will bring together voices on water politics and earth metabolisms, from the perspective of art, science, law, the humanities, and activism.
Loosely inspired by, and set in the legacy of hybrids growing out of artist James Lee Byars’ 1969 "World Question Centre," The World in Which We Occur underlines the necessity for inquiry over an assertiveness of responses. “Could you offer us a question that you feel is pertinent in regards to your own evolution of knowledge?” asks Byars at the end of the line. The World in Which We Occur unveils incentives or queries as to generate further questions to build upon. It also aims to open up other areas of knowledge and speculation stemming from the core exercise of explicating one’s relationship within the current state of nature, in an era of erratic climatic behaviors. As a curation of voices, each session departs from an assisted dialing room set in an auditorium and is shared with an audience of listeners. The sessions are outsourced in the form of a growing archive.
The speakers recorded in previous sessions include Nabil Ahmed, Carolina Caycedo, Cormac Cullinan, Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, Fran Gallardo, Lori Gruen, Clive Hamilton, Stefan Helmreich, Pedro Neves Marques, Barbara Orland, Joana Rafael, Rory Rowan, Jenna Sutela, Paulo Tavares, Etienne Turpin, Mi You, Paul N. Edwards, Peter Fend, Anna Tsing, Kai Bosworth, Stuart McLean.
RAVI AGARVAL is an artist, environmental activist, writer and curator. He is the founder of the well known Indian NGO Toxics Link and has been
internationally awarded for his work. His recent work has been traversing questions of the self and ecological sustainability based
on explorations of ‘personal ecologies.’ Agarwalhas shown in several international shows including Documenta XI(2002), Kassel , Germany, Sharjah Biennial (2013) He is an Engineerby training.
JOÃO CAMARGO is a Portuguese/Brazilian animal scientist, environmental engineer and activist. He has been very active in labour and anti-austerity movements, namely organizing the Que Se Lixe a Troika protests in 2012 and 2013, and participating in Precários Inflexíveis, an association of precarious workers. He has worked as a journalist, taught Botany and Chemistry in Universidade Lúrio, in Mozambique, and headed public intervention in the League for the Protection of Nature, a portuguese environmental NGO, for four years. Currently studying public policy on climate change in Portugal, Spain and Morocco, he is involved with the climate justice group Climáximo and is currently participating in the struggle against oil drilling in Portugal.
JOYEETA GUPTA is professor of environment and development in the global south at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Amsterdam and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft. At European level, she is a member of Science Europe’s Scientific Committee for the Sciences and of the Joint Programming Initiative - Climate Transdisciplinary Advisory Board in Brussels. She has published many books including “Climate Change Convention and Developing Countries - From Conflict to Consensus?, Environment and Policy Series (2001) and ‘History of Global Climate Governance’ in 2014.
JENNIFER TEETS is a curator, writer, researcher, and occasional performer based in Paris. Her research and writing combines inquiry, sciences studies, philosophy, and ficto-critique, and performs as an interrogative springboard for her curatorial practice.
MARGARIDA MENDES is a curator, writer and activist based in Lisbon/Madrid, where she currently co-directs the educational platform Escuelita at Centro de Arte dos de Mayo. From 2009-16 she directed the project space The Barber Shop in Lisbon, where she hosted a programme of seminars and residencies dedicated to artistic and philosophical research. She was part of the curatorial team of the 11th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea.
Prototype Session: The Anthropocene
Session 1: The Pharmakon
Session 3: Grief and Climate Change
Session 6: Earth Metabolisms
Session 7: The Underground